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Guest Blogger: 10 Ways Being a MilSpouse is Like Skydiving For the First Time

Guest Blogger: Jill Pohl

Guest Blogger: Jill Pohl Milspouse Life

10 Ways Being a MilSpouse is Like Skydiving For the First Time

Jill Pohl

The first time I went skydiving was on my 27th birthday. I was young, not sure what I had gotten myself into, and simultaneously excited and nervous. Sounds like getting married to a military man, right? Looking back, that day was filled with so many emotions and experiences, that I can’t help but see the similarities between that 7 hour period and the 5 years (so far) I have been married to my Air Force husband:

1) Everyone else who has already done it has advice for you, but you know that no amount of advice can fully prepare you.

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People always have something to say about marriage. You may have heard something truly inspirational, and retained it. You may have heard something truly inspirational, and forgotten it. Either way, people love to provide unsolicited advice, and whether its good or not, made you upset or made you excited, you took it all with a grain of salt. No marriage is alike, and as much as people try to categorize and stereotype military marriages, they are particularly dissimilar. We all move to different places, respond uniquely to military challenges, and interact differently with our service members. That’s what makes military marriage such an adventure.

2) People keep asking you if you’re scared.

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All the way up to the day I left to jump, people asked me this question. Every time I talk about my husband deploying, people ask me this question. It doesn’t help anything. It just makes you think, “Well I wasn’t. But now, should I be?” This won’t change the fact that we will all probably hear it all our lives.

3) You’ve got a lot of equipment, and you’re not sure you know what to do with it.

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As military spouses, we try and try to prepare. We equip our families mentally and physically: we make sure our spouses have their uniforms ready to go and all the equipment they need (even though we don’t always know what it does). We give them pep talks just as much as they give us pep talks. But oftentimes, none of us really know if there’s weight behind our words. Will it really “all be okay?” Are you really going to feel “just fine?” Maybe not. But we prepare, we say what we need to say to provide encouragement, and that’s all we can do. Even if we don’t fully know what’s going on and if we have everything we need for the next adventure, we just keep truckin’ on.

4) There’s a seemingly endless amount of “hurry up and wait.”

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“Hurry up and wait” is also practically a military motto. We’ve all heard our service member say it to describe a day at work. We’ve all felt it when making calls to Tricare, finding out about an impending PCS move, or trying to move any kind of paperwork through the bureaucracy on base. It’s part of our lives.

5) Right before you take the jump, you realize that you have no idea why you decided to do it.

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After discussing so many times with my service member what military life would ask of us, I truly did wonder, why was I still doing this? It was love, of course, but couldn’t I have fallen in love with someone whose life was a little less, well, unsettled? Why did I even let myself fall in love with someone whose career asked so much of us both? Why did I think it would all be okay, when it has already been so hard? We’ve all asked ourselves these questions, especially in the hardest moments. And even though we know the answer, it doesn’t mean we don’t still ask.

6) As you get ready to go, someone tells you you’re jumping out of the plane doing a barrel roll, or throws some other kind of curveball.

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We all know that we can plan all we want and something still will go against all of our prep work. You think your spouse is going to deploy in August, and all of a sudden you find out that something got messed up with the paperwork, and he’ll have to go later. You’d already been prepared. Or you find out you’re pregnant, and your spouse is going to Squadron Officer School right around your due date. It’s the military. It happens.

7) Sitting in your partner’s lap, you realize how important they are to you. Your lives are in one another’s hands.

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With your military spouse, you go through so much together, how could you not value one another so tremendously? Maybe you’ve only been married for 5 years, like myself, but so much has happened that you are even closer than most longer-married couples.

8) By the time the parachute deploys, you think you’ve gotten through the worst of it. Then you throw up.

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Okay, so my military marriage has never made me throw up. But that parachute deploying, that moment of relief, comes in any military marriage, multiple times. Your service member is back from deployment, or a very long stint at a training program. Finally, he’s home and you have a partner again.

Until you realize that it’s not all better. He’s tired, and not in a great mood. You both aren’t used to having each other around. You argue over small things. You’ll get back into the groove, but let’s be honest, it takes a while.

9) There’s a free fall that feels like it will never end. When the free fall does end, you realize it wasn’t so bad.

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As a milspouse, deployments, moves, finding a new job or new school, all feel daunting. When you come out on the other side, you realize it usually (though there are always exceptions) wasn’t as awful as you’d expected. Sometimes the anticipation really is worse.

10) You may not land on your feet, but you land, your partner’s with you, and you both have huge smiles on your faces as you high-five one another.

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Do I need to explain this one? It feels great to jump. And it feels great to be married to someone who you take big risks with all the time, because at the end of the day, you’re together and you’re happy.

Citation:

“Lemons” photo credit: Alyssa & Colin via photopin cc
“Scared” photo credit: Christopher Cotrell
“In the waiting line” photo credit: fly
“Don’t Panic Don’t Panic” photo credit: Barbara Abate
“Emma looks surprised” photo credit: the Jbird
“Trust” photo credit: purplejavatroll
“Dizzy” photo credit: THX0477
“Helena (#90268)” photo credit: Mark J. Sebastian

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It’s a……

The last time I posted I was able to share my family’s exciting news! We are expecting. Life definitely has a way of keeping you busy. It’s the end of January, and life has been flying. In the last two months, we have settled into our new home, and started finding activities that the kids will enjoy. They have an amazing toddler learning center here that offers free child play once a week. The kids love it, and they offer so many things that expand the imagination. Plus it breaks up the sameness of the rest of the week.

We also discovered the local library has toddler reading time. They read stories, sing songs, and do a craft to help the kids remember the story. This is also free for the kids!!!! I swear if you are new to an area, check out the local library. They are usually really good at knowing what is available.

Other than that, we’ve been dealing with Daddy on Deployment. We got super lucky this time. He actually has internet capabilities, and the kids have seen him almost every day so far. Sometimes Blue Eyes asks if daddy is sleeping at work. It’s hard to explain to a three year old that daddy had to go super far to work and won’t be home for a long time. So we are in the process of putting together a daddy wall! I’m buying little pieces here and then, when I get them all gathered, we will have a day to put it all together. I want to make a chain for each day, but we aren’t sure when he will be coming home, so I don’t want to make it too short.

In other exciting news, our baby is growing on schedule. And I’m excited to post this picture that a great photographer friend of mine, Chrystal Parks, made to do our gender reveal! And it looks like we are going to be a two boy, one girl family!!!

It's a boy!!!!

It’s a boy!!!!

Catching Up…. (Pictures)

Look how they've grown from one Halloween to the next!!

Look how they’ve grown from one Halloween to the next!!

Wow, It has been a chaotic couple of months! I had planned to write through the entire PCS process, but it definitely didn’t happen. I thought I’d share a couple pictures from the past two months.

We stayed with my family for a while in-between so my hubby could fix up the house. Unfortunately my hubby had an accident with the table saw, and ended up in the emergency room to re-attach several tendons. Several months later, he has regained most of the use of his hand, although it still really hurts him and his fingers can’t quite straighten out. That caused a lot of panic and fear for our family, but I’m so glad he is doing much better.

When we finally got moved up to our new home we realized that we lost almost all of our storage space. So we’ve been struggling to find homes for everything. Especially things like books (which are still in boxes in the living room) and clothes. I was really spoiled with our custom closets in CA. I feel like I’m constantly buying hangers or struggling to get our two small dressers crammed with clothes. I could really use help from an Organization Fairy!!! I wish they existed. Snow White at the apple orchard

We’ve also been exploring our new home. I must say this is the most beautiful duty station we’ve ever been at (except maybe Pensacola). We love all of the outdoors and the fresh air. We are on an island, so there is gorgeous water all around us and Daddy and Blue Eyes go fishing. Mommy and Snow White went to an apple orchard!

Blue Eyes fishing with daddy

Blue Eyes fishing with daddy

As for my kiddos, Blue Eyes has shot up. We had to go buy 4t clothing for him the other day and he’s not even three yet! Snow White is still a tiny little thing, but her curls are ever present. Not to mention she has developed her mama’s temper. Yeah, we might be in trouble with that one. As for more exciting news??? We are expecting baby number THREE!!!!!  We can’t wait for that one!!announcement

An odd memory

I pulled my gun once, when I was in the military…. Not something I thought about at the time, but sometimes I still think about it. It wasn’t a huge life changing event, but it did make me think.

It was the middle of winter, so I was bundled up to where I could barely move. I was half way through my shift and freezing cold. The flight deck is a lonely place when your on watch. Do walk miles and miles around the perimeter of the flight deck and say hi to everyone who passes just for interaction.

Then I spotted it.
A black object floating toward the carrier.

I called down like I was supposed to and followed the object with my gun. The guy on the radio thought I was kidding and told me to open fire. I rarely swore, but I let out a stream that would have made any salty sailor proud. The watch leader took forever to get up to the top.

I sat there waiting. My arm got sore from holding my gun up, but we had been told horror stories of similar innocent blobs blowing holes in the side of carriers. So I kept my arm raised.

I had a lot of time to think while I waited. Could I actually pull the trigger? I’ve always been a good shot. I wouldn’t miss. But could I do it? Could I take one life to protect the countless others down below my feet? That’s why I’d become a sailor, or better yet, why I’d become an air traffic controller, so I wouldn’t have to find out if I could do it.

The watch commander and I stood there waiting. The blob finally turned enough to show it was a bag of garbage that must have fallen over the side. He went back down to figure out who to call to get the bag out of the water and I could finally give my arm a rest.

We later found out that the bags were a training exercise for divers. They had failed to tell us there was training that day. All I could think was that my gun had been pointed at that bag. What would have happened if one of the divers had shown up before we heard about the training? Someone could have been hurt.

Snow White finally gets a baby blanket

The other night, as I was waiting for my husband’s Dixie Cup to dry, I finally finished my scrap yarn blanket. I could not be happier with how it turned out.

My son has his “Kie, Kie” that he is in love with. I didn’t make the original, but I did make his replacement once the first one was ripped beyond repair. I searched for ages before I was able to find a pattern close enough that he wouldn’t notice the replacement. The closest pattern was from Hodge Podge Crochet, and like most of the patterns I use, it’s completely free.

Blue Eye's Baby Blanket

Blue Eye’s Baby Blanket


For Blue Eye’s awesome baby blanket, Click Here.

I made Snow White a blanket when she was born, and although she likes it, it has always been too heavy for her to carry around. So I decided it was time to make her another blanket. I searched Pinterest for an idea of a blanket that she would like, and I ran across Daisy Cottage’s granny square blanket. The one she made is very small, but I just continued on and made the blanket a decent size for a baby girl.

For Snow White’s beautiful granny square blanket, click here.

Modern Granny Square blanket

Modern Granny Square blanket

I love these two baby blankets. I’m happy both kids like their new blankets. Blue Eyes will need a replacement again soon, this one is starting to see a lot of love. I also couldn’t stop at making Snow White one blanket. I decided to make a second to use up some extra yarn. I had planned on using it as a baby gift, but by the time I had finished, I had fallen in love with the new one as well….

bold and beautiful

bold and beautiful

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What do you think? Do you like the softer more normal girl colors? Or the bold colors?

Grammy & Papa’s

Visiting Grandparents is always fun. My kids have never really gotten to know their grandparents because we live so far from them. The last couple weeks before PCS-ing, we decided it would be a good idea if the kids and I stayed in Grammy & Papa’s trailer, so hubby could finish making repairs to our house, and get it rented out. My kids are loving it here, except for bedtimes.

They love that there is a dirt pit right near the house. If we let them play outside, you can guarantee that is where they are headed. When mommy is mean and won’t let them play in the dirt, there is a rock path that Blue Eyes loves to jump from rock to rock. Grammy & Papa have chickens too! Blue Eyes loves to watch them and sometimes he gets to collect the eggs, although if he helps, there is a chance they will not make it to the house. He has a tendency to drop them. He also loves Aunty Bing, and Uncle Giant. They are the first people he asks for every morning. Snow White loves the dirt as much as Blue Eyes does. She is getting so independent, and man does she have my temper. It’s going to be a rough road helping her learn to control it. We can be mad all we want, but throwing fits isn’t going to happen! Snow White also loves that Aunty Bing picks her up and dances all over the house with her. Sometimes Snow White will go over to Aunty’s legs and cry, “Dan Dan Dan” until Aunty picks her up.

The kids are missing daddy. I don’t blame them. We did this short separation to get the rest of our move in order, but we all miss daddy a lot. It’s not just the kids either. Hubby’s dog is being a royal pain in the neck. He has an attitude, and when he’s not happy he likes to shred the trash, or open the fridge. It’s a good thing my parents fridge is too high for him to reach.

Staining in a uniform…

All military wives know the panic…. the one where their husband finds out that they needed their uniform ready, and some part of their dress uniform is messed up. Hence the reason I am up so late tonight. My husband needs his dress uniform in the morning, and although his uniform has been dry cleaned and his ribbons are new, there is of course a small problem…. His Dixie cup has a yellow mark in the back. Undoubtedly, the handiwork of our wonderful two year old Blue Eyes. So I am up, making sure his cover gets clean.

I managed to locate a second cover, and it’s getting washed at the moment, just in case I can’t get the yellow out. I’ve tried baking soda and vinegar, and I’ve tried the hydrogen peroxide mix…. I’m not sure what else there is.

So in the madness of transferring, and getting our new housing set up. In the madness of boxes everywhere and my kids unpacking as fast as we can re-pack it, I am up super late making sure his uniform is ready.

Isn’t that what us wives do though? We make sure our men are ready to fulfill their duties. We take care of their uniforms, and pack up when we need to. I’ve been in the service. I know how important uniforms and haircuts can be. For all of you military spouses…. What is your go to trick for uniform care?

Snow White is One!!

Happy First Birthday Snow White!!!

Happy First Birthday Snow White!!!

My beautiful Snow White turned one!!! Mommy has been wanting to make her wear a tutu for a long time, so Snow White’s first birthday was the perfect opportunity. We aren’t having the party until Saturday, but I had to share a picture of my beautiful little girl. It makes my heart happy to see her cute little face in all her ribbons and glitter. It seems like just the other day I was announcing I was going to have her, now she looks like my beautiful little princess.

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Daddy’s not coming home… 5 ways to help kids cope

Ideas to help with deployment

Ideas to help with deployment


There is a lot of change happening right now. If you haven’t read, we have orders and a date to leave. Hubby and I have both been finishing up our two separate degrees. Surprisingly enough, they will be done within a week of each other. That means that we have double the finals, and trying to fit in time for our kiddies in with his work schedule.

To make matters worse, we found out he will be deploying withing months of being at our new Duty Station. We’ve been through deployment and underway before. But we have been extremely blessed. The last time Hubby left for two months was right after Blue Eyes left. It was a hard adjustment, but at least at that point Blue Eyes was solely dependent on mommy. This time, it’s going to be a lot harder. Daddy gets home and both kids run/toddle after him like he’s the greatest thing in the entire world. While I love the looks on their faces when daddy gets home, how will I explain when daddy’s not coming home? They will be three and almost two when daddy has to leave.

I’m so grateful for friends who have already gone through the deployment with kids. They have been amazing at helping me to keep from getting sad. They’ve given me ideas for things we can do to help keep them from missing daddy. After talking to multiple military wives and kids who have gone through deployments, here is a list of 5 things people agree help their kids during the deployment.

5. Bedtime Stories
One of the best things I’ve heard is those books that daddy’s voice can read to them. Hallmark has quite a few of them, and other companies are starting to make them as well. There are other options for bedtimes stories as well. I ran across the website for a pen that will read “Anybook” that daddy’s voice has recorded. That’s amazing if your child’s favorite book is not the normal bedtimes stories. Blue Eyes loves Star Wars ABC’s, Colors, and 123’s.

4. Daddy Dolls
My friends have also pointed me to the amazing world of Daddy Dolls. We’ve been talking about getting each kid a build a bear with daddy’s voice, which isn’t a bad idea, but then we found daddy dolls. There are a ton of websites that make them for military. Different looks and possibilities, it’s really up to you, what look you want.
Daddy Dolls Inc. -This site will do dolls, dog tags, pillows, teddy bears, and homecoming outfits.
Operation Give a Hug -this is where you can chose to donate or request a doll. It’s great if you want to support military kids, or if you can’t afford to give your kid a daddy doll.
Hugs to Go -has cute little people in uniform that you can put daddy’s face on.
US Deployment Dolls -This site has several uniformed dolls and the face it put on the doll instead of a removable picture.

Whether you decide to do a daddy doll or not, it’s up to you.

3. Deployment Wall
I’ve also been talking to several friends who have created a Deployment Wall. The Deployment wall is all things daddy. Two clocks, one with your time, and one with your spouse’s (daddy’s) time. Most have some sort of countdown, or a jar of “Kisses for each day” daddy is gone. Other walls I’ve seen have maps with pins, pictures, letters, and other types of things to help them know daddy is close.

2. Homecoming Outfits
And then there is the all exciting day daddy comes home…. Letting the kids get special outfits for daddy coming home can be a great way to get them excited. Do they get their own “uniforms?” Most of the time, your branch will sell kids versions in their exchange. Do they get a tutu? If you can’t make a tutu, there are many wives on base who can. Find your base spouse page, I’m sure you’ll find someone.

1. Homecoming Decorations
Do they get to decorate? Make sure you do some research, some places like Build a Sign will do free banners for returning military members. By streamers, get ice-cream! It’s a time to celebrate. The wait is over! Daddy’s home!

Since it’s a fact that my husband will be deploying, I have started a Pinterest board called Deployments. I’m not very good at putting the “Pin” button on my page, but you are more than welcome to check out my Pintrest board for ideas. The link for Deployments is here and the link for Military life is here.

The little hat in the photo is my own design. I didn’t like the patterns I came across, so I spent a couple days designing it. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you like the design. Also, if you have any other great ideas for helping kids with Daddy deploying, PLEASE leave a comment. I’m always looking for new ideas.
-MB
This article is solely my own research and thoughts. I am not a paid sponsor. I am simply a military wife with two kids who will soon be facing the realities of deployment.

not all who wander are lost…

not all who wander are lost

My baby girl is a full time walker now. Having two kids who are full time walkers is exhausting, but the world as they see it, is so big and wide and wonderful. I can’t help but wish I could be that small again, just to see the world the way they do.
Believe it or not, that is my garden my little snow white is exploring. It’s grown so tall with plants and weeds that it looks like a jungle to her little eyes. She loves to wander around in there, touching flowers, playing with the hose, and seeing the giant zucchini that come from there. Blue Eyes used to be the same way… but while Snow White toddles around, Blue Eyes is busy in his little cozy coupe, pretending to be a race car.

My sweet babies aren’t so little. And while it’s easy for us to get caught up in the world of PCS-ing, moments like this remind me that as long as we are together, who cares about the upcoming stress of moving. These little moments are the life lessons I need to be reminded of. So while I’m stressing out, this adorable little girl is finding the true meaning of life.

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